The presidential candidates’ campaign went on also during the stay of the IMF mission in Bucharest. President Băsescu and PSD-leader Mircea Geoană both tailored their statements to serve their campaign needs, but that does not necessarily meet the interests of the government and the country. The fuss about corrupt government officials seems be on the backburner for now.
Analysis and forecast: increasing risk
Statements of the President and the PSD-leader were already discussed in the first item, except for a few. Băsescu still hasn’t stated positively that he will run for a second term, what’s more, he told the public radio that he is considering not running again. This could hurt his chances, although he has had a safe lead in the opinion polls for the last months. Geoană has simply dismissed the government’s economic policy, labelling it “not working”, but in a flip-flop a week later endorsed governmental anti-crisis measures. Referring to government plans of massive lay-offs, he stated that although he is against redundancies, he thinks that cuts should be made on quality standards, not on arbitrary criteria. Contrary to previous statements, he firmly stood up for the coalition by stating that his party strongly believes in the country’s ruling coalition. It is yet to be seen that this image of a responsible statesman will last, as the government has already started to lay out concrete plans for lay-offs from ministries and state agencies, and the 0.8% reduction in spending mandated by the IMF agreement requires the firing of at least 100 000 state employees until June 2010. This will be one of the greatest tests of the coalition. Băsescu has already stated that he is for a swift and fast reduction in the number of state employees; therefore people are aware of his position. He has continued with the image of a president whose actions are driven only by the interests of the country, and for months now he has stayed true to this, making him the most consistent political player recently.
Source: Gallup, CSOP